Given everything that’s been going on with Kanye West, there’s one thing that we’ve missed. Kanye was scheduled to give a TimesTalk on mental health with Charlamagne Tha God at New York’s Town Hall on Wednesday night. Charlamagne posted on Monday that the talk had actually been canceled. As an advocate of mental health, I think that these kinds of conversations need to be had. Whether or not you agree with what Kanye has been saying over the last few weeks (maybe months), we need to be having these conversations – both about politics as well as mental health. Charlamagne posted this on Instagram in relation to the scheduled TimesTalk:
“Normalizing being mentally healthy is a conversation that I really wanted to have with Kanye because he’s been so vocal about his own mental health struggles. Unfortunately I think to have that conversation with him right now would not be productive and a total distraction from the point of the convo which is to eradicate the stigma of mental health especially in the black community.- ME.”
Kanye West has admitted to having bipolar disorder and has recently proclaimed that he has stopped taking his medication, which is needed to stabilize the condition. Not everyone with bipolar disorder needs medication, but maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Maybe we are chastising Kanye West for siding with Donald Trump when we should be talking about why he stopped taking the medication in the first place. Presumably, it wasn’t to appear “crazy”. Given everything that Kanye has going on in his life, the cancellation of the talk isn’t entirely surprising. Charlamagne’s take on it definitely speaks to wanting to improve the situation, rather than make it worse. If the talk did happen, it might be taken badly because Kanye isn’t in the right frame of mind.
While I don’t have bipolar disorder, I have had my share of anxiety and depression lately. Talk therapy has been beneficially for me, but over the summer, during my darker moments, I wondered if medication would be beneficial. I had taken anti-depressants when I was in college, but I found that I felt worse when I was taking the medication, so I subsequently stopped. Medication has come a long way since then, but overall, you are putting something into your body to change the way your brain is working. It can be a hard idea to grapple with. But it can also be difficult to actually take the medication because you don’t feel like yourself.
I think the challenge with Kanye, though, is knowing when he’s doing something for publicity, and when he is in need of serious mental help. I am not trying to minimize his struggles, but Kanye has acted irrationally over the years, leading one to believe that this is just the way he is. Maybe he was suffering from bipolar at that time also, I don’t know. But what I do know is that regardless of who you are, dealing with a mental health disability is difficult. Presumably, it’s even more difficult for people who are in the public eye. Kanye is always making the headlines so I can only imagine how that impacts his mental health.